The Tricolored Herons aren’t as tricky with their dance moves as the Reddish Egrets but they are pretty entertaining. This one had been feeding further away then came into the shallow water and strutted around.
Florida’s Vierra Wetlands is a man-made water reclamation facility that “polishes reclaimed water for irrigation or overflow into the adjacent Four-mile Canal” per the Brevard County website.
The 200 acre site hosts a wide variety of local wildlife and migrating and nesting birds, including Great Blue Herons.
Florida’s nesting birds are at least a month ahead of those here in South Carolina. We are just starting to see hatchlings at the local rookeries and these images were taken almost three weeks ago, when we saw some chicks that were close to a month old.
It was quite windy this day, and with the chicks standing you can see there isn’t much to hold them in the nest and there is no protection from the weather.
The placement of the nest on a palm tree top provides some security from predators climbing up, particularly raccoons. Many of the chosen nest trees are also standing in water which means alligators patrol below for potential nest raiders.
The road around the impoundments is elevated from the water giving a direct view into some of the nests.
Click on any image for larger view.
Vierra Wetlands, Brevard County, Florida, 2/21/2018.
It can be disconcerting when a flock of wading birds lands in a tree over your head. Thoughts of getting pooped on come to mind, and as much as I’d hate to be the recipient of that I’d hate it to land on my camera even more.
This flock of six or eight White Ibis didn’t seem to be concerned about the few photographers standing below and provided some nice poses.
After awhile they took off one by one, and because they were so close to the trees there was no option for in flight photographs.
These were taken in the middle of February and just a few buds were starting to show on the trees.
Several pairs of Great Blue Herons are working on nests around the pond, gathering and arranging sticks in a labor intensive effort.
There does not seem to be any sense of urgency to get the nests completed. The males tend to take long breaks between stick trips, taking time to look around and show off their breeding plumes.
The female below appears to be laying on eggs and didn’t get up when her mate brought this nest contribution. Their nest looks pretty substantial already and she did take the stick and found a spot for it.
This small island in a small pond seemed like an odd place for a Great Egret to hang around. He was in the middle where it appeared dry so there wouldn’t be much to eat. It was good for me that the dormant grasses have fallen over so I had a clear view.
The juvenile Night-Herons were more active on this morning in the rookery than the snoozing adults.
A few of them were wandering around on these gnarly tree branches in the dappled sun.
A comparison of the juvenile Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron at All About Birds finds they are quite similar, with the Black-crowned variety having “larger spots and bolder streaks.” Hard to tell unless you have one of each side-by-side.
1/30/2018, St. Augustine Alligator Farm, St. Augustine, Florida.
Several Yellow-crowned Night-Herons were scattered around the rookery soaking up the morning sun. This one was tucked in the fronds of a palm tree showing off his blue/grey feathers..
The back of this rookery property has a double fence to contain the alligators and this Heron took his spot on the inner layer where the vines were still dormant in late January. The brown layer behind the bird is the second fence, also covered with brown vines.